February 8, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
N. KYRGIOS/F. Ferreira Silva
6-4, 6-4, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How did you feel to be back on probably your favorite court in the world?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, it was a tricky one. I haven't been nervous like that for a tennis match for a long time. Obviously not competing for a while at a Grand Slam level, I was obviously doubting my confidence a little bit.
Got broken my first game of the tournament, which is never a good sign. And then actually bounced back pretty well. He's a tricky player, though. Crafty lefty, has a pretty good forehand. I didn't think he missed much, either. The conditions were incredibly tough. It was freezing in there. The court was playing very slow.
Yeah, I'm happy with the way I just kind of, you know, kept composed and just fought back, stayed tough. It wasn't an easy match, that's for sure.
Q. Tell us about the first couple games, you did look a little bit flat. In that third game you started to verbalize a bit, get yourself going. Was that on purpose to get yourself into the night?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, definitely. It was just a bit awkward just being out there again with the whole heat-of-the-battle type thing in a Grand Slam.
Like, I felt obviously last year playing a lot of matches and then, you know, I felt almost like a veteran at a Grand Slam. I knew to ride the waves, I knew to just kind of just -- you know, I knew there was going to be ups and downs, but I felt like a rookie again out there. I didn't really -- you know, to be going down a break, you never want to go down a break. But the first set in a Grand Slam is so crucial because you never want to lose that first set because you know you could be out there for three, four hours.
I was almost, like, saying, Dude, it's time to wake up. It's not just like, you know, a 250. My body was almost and my mind I was like, Dude, it's the Australian Open again. It's come that fast. To be honest, I just didn't feel, I didn't feel almost like it was the Oz Open. It felt like a normal tournament.
Q. Does that make you feel you need to do different things before the match starts to hype yourself up?
NICK KYRGIOS: Well, I definitely think I have calmed down a lot in my career now. I don't think I -- I just take every match as it comes. I have played so many matches now and I've, like, lost so many matches, won so many matches. I treat it all the same. I don't put an asterisk on any match really. I just go about my routines as I would every day.
I just think it's more about playing. I have just got to play again. And it's just good that I got through because now I have another chance to go out there, have some good fun against a good player.
Ultimately I'm happy. I'm happy with -- I've won three matches in the Aussie Summer, which I think is a bonus for me. I wasn't expecting much. So, yeah, it's good.
Q. You really got into your rhythm second and third set. Looked like you were cruising. Do you feel like you were close to playing some of your best tennis in the second and third?
NICK KYRGIOS: Oh, not at all. Yeah, that's why I'm extremely happy with the way I kind of just went about it, you know. I was walking the walk like I was playing my tennis, but I really wasn't.
I didn't feel comfortable. I wasn't serving anywhere near my best. I actually thought I returned all right. From what I'm capable of I can't really expect too much. I haven't been at this level for almost a year. It's just like taking a year off the game and then coming back and all of a sudden try to find your best tennis again. It's not easy.
But I can give myself another chance to play again, and I'm just looking forward to it. I'm taking every day as a blessing at the moment.
Q. Is there a greater sense of appreciation and understanding now for you?
NICK KYRGIOS: Definitely. Well, I always had a pretty good perspective, you know, even before last year happened.
But, dude, I'm just, like, I feel old. I feel old. I feel like this sport has stressed me out. I feel like an old soul. So I don't really -- at the end of the day I know it's just a tennis match. Obviously I'm going to get angry as I'm playing. I'm a competitor, I always want to win. I don't beat myself up over losses. I'm extremely lucky to even be in my position.
I'm healthy. You know, I've got great friends, great family. An amazing girlfriend back home. I'm blessed. That's what I mean. Look at me. I'm a wise man now.
Q. You talked earlier, you said you had to verbalize yourself to get yourself going in that third game. I'm not sure if it was your brother's girlfriend or what it was, but, Get out of my box. Can you explain what was going on there?
NICK KYRGIOS: I'm a nut case when I'm on court (smiling). No, it was just heat-of-the-battle type stuff. It was just being out there, all those emotions again. You outlet into people that you know have your back and you know that's not gonna change. One person that, you know, a lot of people can kind of relate to just outbursts. You just need to verbalize it and lash out on someone sometimes. Then I calm down and started playing some decent tennis.
Q. Was she doing anything?
NICK KYRGIOS: No, it wasn't her. Wasn't her. No.
Q. I know you touched on this on court with Jim, and I wanted to ask you this the other day about the Uber Eats ad. When was that done? I know you said you had a lot of fun, but if you can give a little bit of an insight into the production or the filming of it.
NICK KYRGIOS: It was about a week ago now, week and a half ago. Time's flying.
I just met Sacha, and it was insane, like, I thought he was the funniest guy. He's actually a really nice guy. It was four hours we did it. It was literally four hours of him sitting in the umpire's chair giving me code violations, all different type of code violations. I just had to go to the line and try and act serious.
But I was actually the disciplined one in the filming, which was insane. I was, like -- they were like, So, Nick, you're going to be the more disciplined one today? I was like, How is this going to work? Then we just finally got it.
It's hilarious though. He's a super good guy. He's pretty funny. I saw it today. It's good.
Q. Was it all scripted or...
NICK KYRGIOS: No, it was funny, because we had like two directors for it, and he basically just took over the whole thing. He was just like, No, we're just not going to rehearse it, we're just going to go straight off the top of the line. He looks like he can talk shit... Am I going to get fined for that?
I was like, Yeah, I'm good at that. Then we just kind of went back and forth bouncing off each other, and then we became a masterpiece, I guess.
Q. Talk about your next match. You mentioned him being a tough opponent, Humbert. You played once, 6-3 last year and retired after that. Tell us a bit about him and what you think about that match.
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I think he's one of the most improved players on tour. He found his form pretty good. I think he won a title or two last year. I'm not sure where.
He's a good player. I played him in Acapulco. I wasn't near 100%, but I could just sense he was a good player. Just from that set I played with him, I was like, this guy is a young up-and-comer, he's going to be playing good tennis. And obviously to be seeded at a Slam you have to put a pretty good year together.
I'm not even thinking about that. I'm just glad I got through today. I've got plenty of things I need to do to get my body right.
As I said, I'm just excited. I have doubles with Thanasi, as well. So, you know, I'm not taking any wins at a Grand Slam for granted.
Q. You said on court afterwards that you felt like you had a big reset from the year off and you spoke about being calmer on court, having that bit of perspective. I know you kind of say always it's just a tennis match, but do you think any of your kind of -- would it be fair to say you feel you have matured a bit and would you say any of that might help you with your tennis even though you say you don't care that much? Do you think that kind of attitude, the relaxed perspective of it can help you go further now?
NICK KYRGIOS: I wouldn't say I don't care about it because it's something that I have dedicated my entire life towards. It's more I do a lot of things with my platform outside of tennis that I wouldn't be able to do if I wasn't a good tennis player.
But I think this sort of perspective that I have helps me and my game. I definitely play a bit looser than other players do.
But that's just the way I play. That's who I am. And I'm not saying being super professional, ticking all the boxes is wrong. I commend players like we had David Ferrer, all these type of players who bring the consistency every day. You can't really teach that too. That's a talent in itself.
But, I mean, I am who I am. I'm very comfortable in my own skin. I just go about, it's a tennis match for me. Like, I've got a lot of things in my life going on, and I've gone through a lot, and that's real stuff rather than, you know, losing a tennis match.
Q. Yesterday Novak Djokovic talk about you.
NICK KYRGIOS: Here we go.
Q. He says he has no respect for you. Would you like to say anything about that statement?
NICK KYRGIOS: It's a strange one for me, because, you know, I read his comments, he said he doesn't respect me off the court.
I'm, like, it actually would make complete sense to me if he was like, Look, I don't respect the guy on the court, because I understand if he doesn't agree with some of my antics on the court that I have done in the past. And when we've played matches I think I've actually been pretty good towards him.
But I'm not quite sure how he can't respect me off the court. I feel like I've gone about things extremely well, especially during the pandemic I was -- I mean, driving around delivering food to people during the pandemic that didn't or couldn't get the supplies.
I was extremely careful about what I was doing. I didn't want to spread the virus to anyone.
Now I'm actually trying to donate meal kits to people that need food. I have my foundation. So it's very strange to me as why he would say he doesn't respect me off the court. I actually do a lot off the court.
But, yeah, he's a very strange cat, Novak is. Heck of a tennis player, but unfortunately someone that's partying with his shirt off during a global pandemic, I don't know if I can take any slack from that man. That's as bad as it gets for me.
Q. We have Nole doing really well, Roger and Rafa and a lot of competition at that level. Who do you think is really the toughest of the three? Who do you think brings the most skill sets between those three?
NICK KYRGIOS: All great in their own way, obviously. I don't think we have ever seen someone maybe so dominant in their period of time as Novak, like he went on that obviously 60-match winning streak or something really crazy.
I think in my opinion I believe Roger is the greatest of all time. With his skill set, the way he plays the game, I think it's pure.
I actually think talent-wise Nadal and Djokovic aren't even close to Roger. Talent-wise, just purely based on talent the way Federer plays, his hands, his serving, his volleys, untouchable.
Rafa you will never see someone so dominant on one surface ever. I don't think we will ever see that amazing accomplishment on clay, the best clay courter of all time.
It's funny, because I think Roger is the greatest of all time but not the greatest of the era because his head-to-head against Rafa is not great. But it's a tough one.
Me personally, I played them all. I actually think Andy for me was tougher than Novak to play. I mean, I have only played Novak twice. I have played Andy six times and I'm 1-5.
Nadal, I actually think, I match up quite well against Nadal. I can serve big and play kind of the right style of tennis to be successful against him. Styles make fights in tennis. All the matchups are different.
Roger's chopped me a couple of times. Roger makes you feel like you're really bad at tennis sometimes. He walks around, he flicks his head, and I'm, like, I don't even know what I'm doing out here.
Roger is the greatest, for me. But Novak, obviously what he's doing now, look, I'm just watching him play Chardy and Chardy doesn't even believe that he can win, and when you reach that status, you must be pretty good.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports